13: Women and Girls

Girls and women on the spectrum have been left behind.

It was once thought (and still thought by many!) that the number of Autistic boys and men far outnumber the number of Autistic girls. But now experts are realizing that we girls and women on the Spectrum just tend to present differently and are not being spotted using the typical “male criteria.”

There are a lot of key differences in the ways girls and boys typically present!

For example:

  1. Girls learn to “mask” their Autistic traits (as I learned to do) and are more able to “pass” as Neurotypical. The stress of doing this long-term leads to extreme stress, anxiety, and mental health concerns.
  2. Girls’ special interests may be less obviously “unique” and noticed. For example, knowing every fact about One Direction vs. knowing every fact possible about trains.
  3. Girls are much more likely to be misdiagnosed (bipolar, personality disorder, generalized anxiety, OCD, etc.)

My experiences written on this blog are not all that unique. Autistic girls and women have been undiagnosed and misdiagnosed left and right for ages.

I really hope that women like me who were always so confused about themselves and the world find my blog and realize that they are not alone. I hope that at least one person can have that epiphany and finally understand what’s going on with them. I want to help people have that “Ah HAH!” moment that has been so beneficial, transformative, and life-changing for me.

For me, the Ah HAH! moment was when I stumbled across Rudy Simone’s book Aspergirls: Empowering Females with Asperger Syndrome.

Below are the charts from Simone’s book that changed my life and started me on my search. The chart can also be found on her sites, International Aspergirl Society and Help4Aspergers. Please consider buying a copy of her book or donating to her sites.

Aspergirls for blog.png

Used Simone Women and girls.png

Simone says of her charts:

“These lists are based on my research. While others may be coming to their own similar conclusions, I based these observations of Female AS on interviews with dozens of diagnosed women of all ages and educational backgrounds, from all over the world. These traits were threads that ran throughout their information and stories, tying us all together. As usual, I do not mean to say that all women with AS will possess all of these traits and I do not like putting us in boxes, but there was a need for an easy-to-read reference.”

When I say that Simone’s research changed my life, I mean that literally. In the past, when I wondered if I might be on the Spectrum, I would pull up a list of male-typical Autism traits and almost immediately decide I couldn’t possibly be Autistic. But when I found these charts and matched so many of the traits listed, I finally allowed myself to start researching.

From there, I found Amythest Schaber‘s Youtube channel, started jotting down realizations in a notebook…then one day, started a blog.

More and more, girls and women are coming forward on Youtube, in blogs and articles, and in person to talk about their experiences as Autistic individuals.

It’s about time the world listened.



INFO TO GET STARTED

Aspergirls: Empowering Females with Asperger Syndrome  by Rudy Simone

I am Aspien Girl and I am Aspien Woman  by Tania A. Marshall, M.Sc.

Purple Ella’s Youtube video “Differences: Autistic Boys and Girls.”

  • This is a really cool video where she sits down with her Autistic daughter and son, discusses some of the ways that girls and boys Autistic traits tend to vary, and asks them about their experiences.

Purple Ella’s video “Autism: Here Come the Girls”

  • Ella and Ros talk about lots of topics related to Autistic women and girls.

Purple Ella’s video “Autism in Company: Diagnosing Women and Girls”

  • Ella sits down with her friend Ros to discuss how girls, women, (and others!) present differently.

Amythest Schaber’s “Ask an Autistic” Youtube series and tumblr.

  • Amythest is an incredible self-advocate whom I admire a lot. They are educated, sincere, and overall just a wonderful person. Their videos were some of the first things I saw about Autism.

Hannah Riedel’s Youtube channel.

Seventh Voice’s blog post entitled “The Gaslighting of Women & Girls on the Autism Spectrum”

  • An eerie, but accurate depiction of what many girls and woman face.

A great article by Fabienne Cazalis and Adeline Lacroix entitled “The Women Who Don’t Know They’re Autistic”

Excellent article about masking by Francine Russo entitled “The Costs of Camouflaging Autism”

An article by Scientific America entitled “Autism–It’s Different in Girls”

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